Pirates land 16 year old, Luis Heredia
Early this morning, the Pirates agreed to terms with 16-year-old pitching prospect Luis Heredia. He received a $2.6 million bonus, the biggest payout in franchise history for an international amateur.
Heredia did pass a team physical and all aspects of the agreement were completed. A formal signing ceremony has been planned for early next week in Mazatlan, Mexico, Heredia’s hometown.
That $2.6 million, plus the $8.75 million paid to top two draft picks Jameson Taillon ($6.5 million) and Stetson Allie ($2.25 million) earlier in the week, means the team will have paid a total of $11.35 million to add three elite teenaged right-handers to the system.
The previous high for the Pirates in the international amateur market was $400,000 for Venezuelan outfielder Exicardo Cayones in July 2008.
The 16-year old Heredia is 6 feet 6, 185 pounds, is considered by many scouts to be the best pitching prospect his country has produced in years.
The highlight of Heredia’s scouting report, according to Rene Gayo, the Pirates’ Latin American scouting director, is unusually high velocity for his age — 92-93 mph on his fastball — and equally uncommon coordination for someone who sprouted so tall at a young age. He throws four other pitches, all but the slider currently seen as above-average.
“We believe in the work that we’ve done, we believe in the commitment we’ve gotten from back in Pittsburgh, and we believe, most of all, in Luis,” Gayo said then. “The day it gets done will be a great day for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Asked how much he knew about the Pirates, Heredia laughed and replied, “Just Roberto Clemente.”
Gayo said at the time that, if Heredia were signed, he likely would report to the Pirates’ rookie fold in Bradenton, Fla., rather than the team’s new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, as Heredia spent most of his amateur career competing against players 3-4 years older. That decision will be made by general manager Neal Huntington and director of player development Kyle Stark.